Tag: Martin O’Malley

Democrat Debate

The Democrats debated last night. Or maybe I should say that Clinton and Sanders debated last night since the only other person on the stage, Martin O’Malley, seemed to disappear at times. For the most part, it was what you’d expect: more spending, less freedom, more power. But there was one particular bit that infuriated me. It was from that canker sore, O’Malley:

The things that we need to do in our country, like debt-free college in the next five years, like making universal — like making national service a universal option in order to cut youth unemployment in half in the next three years, all these things can be done if we eliminate one entitlement we can no longer afford as a nation.

And that is the wealthy among us, those making more than a million dollars, feel that they are entitled to paying a much lower marginal tax rate than was usual for the better part of these 80 years.

You read that? You see what O’Malley did there? He claimed that paying a marginal tax rate less than 90% is an entitlement. That wanting to pay less in taxes isn’t a political disagreement or even greed. It’s entitlement.

As a matter of mathematics, O’Malley is full of it. The higher marginal rates of the 20th century came with numerous loopholes so that no one really paid the 90% top rate except maybe John Rockefeller. When Reagan cut tax rates in the 1980’s, he also eliminated most of those tax shelters so that the proportion of taxes by the rich was either steady or went up. In fact, the rich are currently paying half the income taxes in this country.

You could confiscate all the income of this country’s millionaires and it still wouldn’t pay for the kind of spending these bozos want. In the end, they will have to tax the middle class because that’s where the money is. Sanders is at least semi-honest in this. His socialized medicine plan includes heavy payroll taxes because the math won’t work otherwise.

But that’s details. The important paint here is how O’Malley thinks. All your money belongs to government. Your income is whatever they allow you to keep. And if you want to keep more of it, you are acting entitled.

I’m willing to debate whether the rich should pay more in taxes. But I’m not willing to countenance that kind of mentality. O’Malley is gunning for Vice President this time around. With two candidates who will be in their 70’s next year, that means he could end up a heartbeat away from the Presidency. His horrifying record in Baltimore and Maryland is reason enough to vote against that. But the revelation of how he thinks closes the deal.

All Kansas, No Maryland

All right, here’s a question. Over the last year, we’ve seen innumerable think pieces about the budget crisis in Kansas. To make a long story short, Governor Sam Brownback cut taxes in the state dramatically, claiming that this would stimulate Kansas’ economy and the tax cuts would pay for themselves. It was a poor decision since 1) he didn’t cut spending; 2) Kansas’ taxes and unemployment were already low; 3) tax cuts almost never “pay for themselves”.

But …

In Maryland, Governor Martin O’Malley enacted the Democrats’ dream agenda. He raised the gas tax, the fuel tax, the flush tax, tobacco taxes, individual taxes, taxes on the rich, highways and tolls, hospital taxes, titling taxes, alcohol taxes, millionaires taxes, sales taxes, tip jar taxes, property taxes, corporate taxes — to the tune of billions of dollars. He hiked the minimum wage, made in-state tuition available to illegal immigrants, increased spending on everything.

And the result is a budget disaster that makes Kansas look like small potatoes. A $1.2 billion deficit this year. Hiring freezes at state universities and an economy that is still heavily dependent on federal government contracting.

So where are the headlines at Vox? Where is Mother Jones talking about the failure of Keynesian economics? Where are the think pieces about how you can’t tax your way into prosperity? Why is Brownback’s Kansas a disaster of biblical proportions but O’Malley Maryland is something he can run on for President?

As Lee used to say: oh … that liberal media. Right.

(PS – And it looks like Connecticut is going to be moving into the high tax, huge deficit family as well.)

Here Comes the Rain Again

Uhhh, wut?

On the heels of Maryland’s decision to enact tough new gun laws, the ironically nicknamed state (the “Free State”) will now impose a so-called “rain tax” on its residents.

The “storm management fee,” passed by the state legislature in 2012, will go into effect following a decree from Democrat Gov. Martin O’Malley.

“Fees will be calculated on the surface area of properties as the theory is that roofs, driveways and carparks create more potential for drainage problems and water contamination,” Metro explains. “Councils are supposed to determine how much to charge per square foot, but the fee depends on the size of the building and surrounding paved surfaces.”

So here’s the deal. The EPA gave Maryland an unfunded mandate to reduce runoff into the Chesapeake. The state then passed that on to the counties. The counties are now using this an excuse to raise taxes. Only…

And how does the state plan to spend these new tax dollars? It’s unclear:

The state law is kind of squishy. It can be spent to build and maintain stream and wetland restoration projects. And, of course, a lot of it will go to “monitoring, inspection, enforcement, review of stormwater management plans and permit applications and mapping of impervious surfaces.” In other words, hiring more bureaucrats to administer the rain tax program.

It can also be spent on “public education and outreach” (whatever that means) and on “grants to nonprofit organizations” (i.e. to the greenies who pushed the tax through the various levels of government).

In other words, it’s just going to be another tax. It will fund some cleanup, yes. And the Chesapeake does actually need the help (I know crab fisherman on the basin who’ve been having problems). But it will also fund anything else the state or county thinks is worth it.

Money if fungible. Taxes are fungible. In the end, all taxes go into a big pile. And after our leader are finished rolling around naked in it, they are free to spend it on whatever they like.

(About that Maryland gun law. In addition to banning 10-round magazines and “assault weapons”, it requires a license to buy a handgun, complete with a fingerprint requirement. The NRA is going to court and I think it’s unlikely that the Court will uphold this.)

O’Malley, incidentally, is being touted as a 2016 Presidential Candidate. His qualification, according to the pundits, is his unabashed liberalism. He has raised taxes and spending, restricted guns, banned the death penalty and supports same-sex marriage. He is doing what liberals wish the President would: just ignoring the small Republican minority (made easier by recent gerrymandering). Here’s a quote from him that will put a tingle up every liberal leg out there:

“I think we’ve been on a 30-year detour since Reagan’s time. And frankly, sometimes the Democratic Party’s been complicit in slinging this crack, that somehow the answer to every problem is to do less; that somehow, if the wealthiest among us pay less and less in taxes, that somehow jobs are going to sprout up all over the prairie,” O’Malley told POLITICO.

That 30 year detour, incidentally, included one of the biggest and most sustained economic booms in history until Bush and Obama messed it up. But yes, let’s go back to the “good old days” of double digit inflation and double digit unemployment and … oh, wait, we’re already there, aren’t we?

Of course, O’Malley’s actual achievements aren’t very good. He was a lousy mayor of Baltimore. That is, unless you consider expanding government an achievement in and of itself, which most Democrats do. When I lived in Baltimore, it was clear he was running for governor the whole time and taking credit for Baltimore getting better because it simply couldn’t get any worse. Under him, Maryland has become one of the least free states in the union and one of worst business environments. And while unemployment has fallen in Maryland, it has not fallen nearly as fast as the rest of the country, basically remaining unchanged for the last two years. The proximity of Washington has generally kept unemployment rates low in Maryland (mid 3’s before the recession). So today’s 6.6% isn’t as hot as it sounds.

But, hey! He passed the gun law Obama wants and hates small government. So … O’Malley 2016!